Unintended Consequences

by kim on March 22, 2010 · 10 comments

in C'est la vie

“Sometimes the beauty of life is like a lightning washing everything clear.  And these glimmers of doubt flicker, fade out and disappear.”  Shawn Colvin

Yesterday, I was woken up from a gorgeous nap by The Mister as he sprayed a can of that air used to clean keyboards on my toes.  He thought I was sleeping too long.  (For the record, unless you’re Sleeping Beauty or a narcoleptic, you can never sleep too much, in my opinion.)  When I finally did get up, he jokingly threatened to spray me in the toes again if I went back to sleep.  Just then Rocky the Dog walked in and I told him to spray Rocky’s toes if he wanted to spray anyone’s toes.

So he did.

And Rocky the Dog–the same Rocky the Dog who is in rehab from a pretty major leg surgery–scrambled and slid on the floor as he ran out of the room, frightened to death.

We felt awful.  I tried to gain his confidence back with petting.  The Mister used a rawhide bone as leverage.  It didn’t take long because Rocky, like most dogs, is way too trusting of people.  But it worried me to death that we did something to set back his recovery. And that, my friends, is a scary thought.

As you can imagine, I was already thinking about unintended consequences this morning when I checked my work/school e-mail only to find out a hold had been placed on my account.  It turns out, that by applying for financial aid above and beyond my employee tuition assistance screwed something up and they revoked my tuition assistance.  It only took a couple of calls to get to the bottom of things, but talk about a close call.  Another instance of unintended consequences taking control.

So my mind has been redirected and I’m thinking about all kinds of unintended consequences.  And I began to wonder whether our unintended consequences have more to do with the direction of our future than the intended consequences.

Sure, you go to school, you do your best.  You graduate.  You get a job.  You find someone to settle down with who doesn’t make you want to scratch your eyes out.  You have kids.  Rinse.  Repeat.  But it’s the kinks in that hose of life that really change things.

I didn’t intend on restarting a career only two years after I started my first one.  But here I am, doing just that.  We all know that it wasn’t the intended consequences that got me here.  It was a series of choices with unintended consequences that led me to this place.  And I bet if you think about your own life, you can imagine the unintended consequences that led you to where you are, too.

But that’s the beauty of life.  That’s where we find the most intricate parts of our being…our existence.  It’s not in the grand moments we planned, but in the little ones that change our course in the time it takes to light a match.

Unintended as they may be, consequences happen.  Sometimes they’re good.  Sometimes they’re bad.  Many times they’re in between.  But no matter which direction they pull, they are an intricate part of our being.  Those little unintended consequences that set us on a new course.

At the very least, they teach us not to spray the dog’s toes with canned air again.

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